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SRCOSTEP Frequently Asked Questions

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Where can SRCOSTEP participants work?
Participants work in the following operating divisions (OPDIVs) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):

Participants also work in non-HHS organizations, including:

Click here for a listing of the Commissioned Corps liaisons for each of the preceding organizations.

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What are the SRCOSTEP entry requirements?

  • Be enrolled as a full-time student in an accredited program leading to a commissionable degree with at least 8 months of educational commitment remaining in the final year.
  • Be free of any obligation or commitment that would conflict with extended active duty as a commissioned officer in the Corps. Conflicts include membership in the Reserve Officers' Training Corps or any other military reserve program or your receipt of other educational financial assistance (i.e., stipend or scholarship), public or private, that may have terms that could result in a conflict. (Contact the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations, Division of Commissioned Corps Assignments, at 800–279–1605 or 240–453–6125 if you have questions about potential conflicts. Ask to speak to the Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program coordinator.)
  • Qualify for appointment in the Corps. You must:
    • Be a U.S. citizen
    • Be younger than 44 years of age by the time of graduation
    • Meet the medical requirements
    • Pass an initial suitability investigation

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How much will I earn?
SRCOSTEP participants receive the basic pay and allowances of an Ensign (pay grade O-1) during each month they are enrolled in the program (for 2006, this was approximately $2,500/month.) Minimum enrollment is 8 months. You also may receive additional payment for tuition and fees, depending upon fund availability from your sponsoring organization. Upon graduation, you will be promoted in rank, dependent upon your level of education and professional experience. Please note that nurse officers must pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and obtain a license before promotion.

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What benefits will I have?
SRCOSTEP participants are entitled to all of the rights, benefits, and privileges accorded to Corps officers serving on extended active duty.

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How do I apply?
All of the forms required to apply to COSTEP are available online. You may click here to download a complete application packet. You also may call and request application materials from the Office of Commissioned Corps Operations, Division of Commissioned Corps Assignments, at 800–279–1605 or 240–453–6125. Standard business hours are Monday—through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time). The office is not open on Federal holidays. If you call outside of standard business hours, leave a message. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.

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When is the SRCOSTEP application deadline?
A SRCOSTEP application must be postmarked by December 31 of the year before you begin your final year of school. For example, if you will begin your final year of school in September 2007, your application must have been postmarked by December 31, 2006.

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How does the selection process work?
After the application deadline, there is a short period of time during which the Division of Commissioned Corps Assignments processes and organizes files, collects documents, and takes other steps to prepare complete files for review. Next, a selection panel consisting of representatives from the agencies that wish to select SRCOSTEP participants meets to review application files and make selections. Individual agencies will contact the students they selected to offer them a SRCOSTEP assignment. The student may decline the offered assignment, but there is NO GUARANTEE that another agency will subsequently make the student an offer. Once a student declines an offer, the agency has the right to extend the offer to another student and has no obligation to make any further accommodation for the declining student.

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Last updated on 6/10/2008